I have heard more that one client say to me, I did it because he/she did it to me. This is the aching, painful cry of the wounded child within. And at the time of such a hurt, we need to show up for that wounded child from our own healthy adult. We do not need to begin to make decisions and act out in retaliation from that wounded, hurt child. The wound, the pain, needs to be addressed and understood before we make any decisions, before we act out in anger or begin to relate to our partner from within our own pain.
One of the best ways to do this is through an exercise, a meditation that is very helpful.
- First, find a safe, quiet space where you will not be interrupted.
- Close your eyes, if that feels comfortable, and allow yourself to fully feel the pain that you have experienced. This may be difficult, you may cry, you may get angry… just allow yourself to feel whatever feelings come, without having to do anything about them. It’s ok to feel these things inside your body. Your body will process them and eventually the feeling will pass or shift into something else.
- Sit with the feelings for a little while; this could be 5 or 10 minutes if you can tolerate that.
- Next, allow yourself to imagine that all that pain was coming from a younger version of you. Perhaps the type of pain you just experienced brings a picture of you as a teenager or a five year old. Whatever age you perceive, just allow that. Most likely you will get a picture of an age from your youth that resonates with the kind of pain you just experienced.
- Finally, allow your imagination to shift and envision you as a healthy, loving adult. And from this part of yourself begin to speak to the child version of yourself. Let the child know that you love her (or him), you will always be there for her and that you are the one who will carry the responsibility of this situation. And what ever the specifics are, address that. For example, if you got triggered into a fear of abandonment, assure your child that you will never leave her. And let yourself feel the safety and security in this idea. Another expample, if you got triggered into feeling trapped or cornered, assure your child that you are here to protect her and you will never allow anyone to take advantage of her. And again, remind the child that you are always here for her, that you will never leave and that you love her unconditionally.
There are many ways to describe what is happening here. But generally, I would say, as adults it is our job to address and heal our wounds of childhood, rather than looking to our partners to do this. Whoever we were with when the wound got created is most likely not the person who is triggering it now. So it is inappropriate to ask them to heal it for us. They are not the perpetrator. They are simply a person who has agreed to show us a reflection of ourselves, and in this case, they are showing us, there is work to be done to heal this wound.